GEELONG, Australia — Ford Australia has been manufacturing vehicles in Geelong for almost 90 years, and the plant’s historical significance has now been recognised with heritage status from the Victorian Heritage Register.
The Heritage Council agreed to place the Ford factory, which was built in 1926, on the heritage register after acknowledging its unique status – the plant was the first large factory which was specially designed to use in mass production and with an assembly line.
Heritage Council spokesman Jim Norris said the Ford plant was also the first headquarters of a major vehicle manufacturer that had become a household name in Australia, the Geelong Advertiser reported.
"The complex is also of social significance to the community of Geelong for the central role Ford had played in the development of Victoria's second major city," Norris was quoted as saying.
"It's of architectural significance as a relatively intact example of a large-scale industrial complex of the interwar period, which integrates stripped classical style facades with a modern steel-structured factory building designed for the assembly line."
Under the heritage listing, any changes to the building will need approval from Heritage Victoria.
Below are some key dates in the history of the factory:
1924 - In 1924 Hubert C French visited Australia and chose Geelong as the site for a factory.
1925 - Construction begins on assembly plant in Geelong
1926 - Geelong Assembly Plant opens
1928 - Model A produced at Geelong Plant
1940-44 - All Ford plants concentrate on wartime production. Geelong produced military vehicles, ships, aircraft fuel tanks and ammunition materials.
1946 - The first Ford V8 utilities rolled out of the Geelong plant in early 1946 and in July the first Ford V8 sedans
1958 - Modernisation program begins for engine plant at Geelong
1959 - Vehicle assembly shifts to the new Broadmeadows plant, with Geelong becoming Ford Australia’s engine plant.
1960 - Engine machine shop installed at expanded Geelong plant
1964 - $160,000 Apprentice Training Centre opens at Geelong
2008 - Ford injects $21 million into Geelong Engine Plant to make it I6 Euro 4 compliant
2010 - Ford announces $20 million green upgrade for Geelong manufacturing plant